The Bothered Owl

Alex and Sarah's crafty corner of cyberspace

Yarn Party Blog Buttons November 15, 2010

Filed under: Administration,Yarn Party — thebotheredowl @ 6:53 pm
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I am a bit of a luddite at times – despite actually knowing a reasonable amount about computers and how to make them do Stuff – so I am quite proud to show you my handiwork: I made a clickable blog badge button thing-uh-ma-jig with our shiny new Christmas Party Logo on it.

The Logo was designed for us by the ever lovely Julie from Tilly Flop Designs, one of the lovely vendors coming along to the party and an amazing graphic designer! She offered to help us if we needed assistance with flyers and so forth and we, of course, leapt at the chance because we (well, I, anyway) are absolutely pants at art!

Julie came up with no less than five fantastic ideas and it was a very painful evening’s work trying to choose which one to go with because we loved them all. But in the end we had to go with this gorgeous Christmas tree:

Design by Julie Nelson Rhodes of Tilly Flop Design


Isn’t it fab?

I can take no credit for the art work whatsoever, but if you look over to the right, you will spot a button with the logo on it. Click on it and it takes you to the new page I wrote about the party. All the info you need is there, we’ll add things like Google maps and transport instructions shortly – I had to take Esme off A& E to get checked out this afternoon so things were a little rushed! (She’s okay BTW, just miserable and unwell.)

Underneath the button you may notice a little box with some HTML code in it. If you’re attending the party, whether as a vendor or as a guest, and you would like a badge of your own for your blog, you can copy and paste the code into whichever blog builder you happen to use and it should make you a shiny button of your own!

If you try it out, do let me know. Especially if there are any bugs. I’m somewhat rusty at this HTML thing 🙂

Now I’m off to gloat over our pretty logo and comfort my whimpering offspring who is curled up, limp and sad and hot in my lap.



This just in: Sarah has an addiction January 26, 2010

Filed under: General Crafty Chat — thebotheredowl @ 6:53 pm
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My name is Sarah and I am a fabric addict. Look what arrived in the post this afternoon:


Not so plains

But don’t criticise me, these were totally legitimate purchases, for specific projects with Alex’s blessing. Really, they were.

We’re completely out of plain bright cottons. We use these all the time, they make wonderful bag and purse linings for when you want something with a bit more pizazz than calico. Not that I’m dissing calico, you understand, it’s wonderful stuff, it’s just sometimes you want something that pops.

The other fabric is a bit more of the gorgeous Japanese wool dyed gingham I used to make these:

The buttons were bought from the Textile Garden stall at the iKnit Weekender. I’ve been waiting for the right project for them and they just blend so beautifully with the bone coloured Japanese linen I used for the top section and lining of these bags.


How To Make a teeny button pouch January 6, 2010

Filed under: Tutorials — thebotheredowl @ 6:18 pm
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This was the tutorial we put in for the UK Handmade Advent Calendar. Alex suggested we should stick it up here for safe keeping and to make it easy to find.  You can eiether make one your self or maybe buy one of the ones we have up for sale in the shop!

So here goes:

How to Make a Teeny Weeny Buttony Pouch.

These little pouches are fabulous for stocking fillers, or add a ribbon and hang them from your Christmas tree, stuffed with tiny gifts, chocolates or satsumas. You could even make 24 of them and turn them into a reuseable Advent calendar (like the one Gina was talking about in this post.)

Best of all, these are perfect for using up those annoying tiny scraps of fabric leftover from all your other sewing projects.

Step One: Choose your fabrics

Have a good rifle through your stash and your scrap bag and choose up to four fabrics that go well together, you can use scraps, chop up some old worn out jeans, whatever you please.

Step Two: Chop, chop

This is my stash

The colours I chose

Once you’ve picked your fabrics, it’s time to cut them up. We’re essentially making two bags, one inside the other, so we need four pieces exactly the same, two for the interior and two for the exterior. I chose to use four different colours in this pouch to make it extra colourful. But you could line yours with a plain white cotton or calico. Whatever you think looks best.

If you want, you could make yourself a template out of cardboard or tracing paper, or use a ruler and some tailor’s chalk to draw directly onto your fabric to ensure all four pieces are identical. I confess I freehanded the pieces for this tutorial, which was rather naughty of me!

Before you start sewing together, give your fabric a good press to remove creases. It will give a nicer finish.

Step 3: Some Assembly Required

Take two of your fabric pieces and pin them together with right sides facing inwards.

Whip out your needle and thread and get stitching.

Make sure you use a nice strong stitch, like backstitch, which you can see demonstrated in the photograph above. Alternatively, you could use just use your sewing machine.

Backstitch like crazy.. . Or just use your sewing machine.

Sew up three sides of the pouch, leaving one side open. Don’t worry about the raw edges on the open side, we’ll be taking care of those shortly.

Now repeat for the second pair of pieces.

Step 4: Making a Connection

You now have two pouches, ready to be joined together.

The two pouches

Turn one of them right sides out:

Place the right sides out bag inside the other one like this:

See how the cord is sandwiched in place between the two pouches. The raw ends will be tidily tucked away.

Tuck the right sides out pouch inside the other one. Now when you sew it, the stitches will actually be one the wrong (invisible) side of the pouch. Amazing!

See how the bags are now effectively right sides together? Now when you sew the bags

together the seams will all be hidden away neatly.

Before we pin everything in place and sew it together, we can add some embellishments. I wanted to add a loop of ribbon to my pouch so it could be hung up. I also wanted a button and rather than do a button hole, I added a loop of black cord that could slip over a button and secure the pouch shut.

First cut a length of ribbon and fold it in half to make it into a loop. Then sandwich it between the two pouches and pin it in place. You want the tail ends to be on the wrong side – the side you’re sewing.

This way, when you sew your seam you will catch the ribbon tails with your stitches and secure them in place without any of the stitches showing on the good side.

Do the same thing with your cord.  Cut a length and then pinch the ends together to make a loop. Then secure it between the layers of fabric, just as you did with the ribbon. I suggest placing it on the same side as the ribbon, perhaps in between the tail ends of the ribbon.

The pins mark out the gap you will leave for turning your pouch the right way out.

Oh look, it's a length of cord.

Now, it’s a loop. Versatile and useful stuff, that cord.

The final step before we start sewing the two bags together is to place two pins to mark a space in the stitching.

You need to leave yourself enough room to be able to turn the bag right sides out. If you actually want to be able to use your pouch, that is. Leave a gap of at least 3 – 5 centimetres.

You’re now ready to stitch the pouch together. Starting at one of your marker pins and using back stitch again, sew all the way round the top of your pouch from one marker to the other, leaving that all-important gap. Make sure that you stitch back andforth over your ribbon and cord loops to make them extra secure.  Remove any remaining pins and turn it right side out.

Right sides out.

All sewn up except for that crucial gap.

Step 5: Finishing Off

All that’s left to do is to sew on a button and close off the little gap.

First work out where to place your button – find the point opposite your cord loop and mark it with some chalk or a pin. Then choose a button of appropriate size. Remember it has to be able to fit through the little loop of cord snugly. Once you pick your button, stitch it on securely.

If you want to be tricky, you can insert your needle into the little gap you left (notice how we hadn’t closed it off yet?) and sew the button on , leaving your thread ends and stitches on the inside of the bag where they’ll be completely invisible.

You can hide your button stitching by sewing from inside the gap.


Finally you have to deal with that teeny weeny useful gap that’s left. I like to use blind stitch for this because it makes a largely invisible seam, but you can use whatever stitch you like.

Find a really pretty button to finish it off. I get mine from Textile Garden.

To blind stitch the gap closed, you need to insert your needle into the gap. Then push the needle through the fabric from the inside of the pouch. You’re going to thread your needle in and out, from one side of the gap to the other. This makes stitches inside the seam. Your needle should look like this as you stitch:

See how the needle is threaded from one side of the gap to the other?

Now all that’s left to do is to tuck the inside of the bag neatly inside the outside, and find someone to give it to. Or hang it somewhere to display in an appropriately festive manner.

Blind stitching the gap closed.

My little niece, Eliza, with her brand new pouch. She spent ages stuffing it with a reel of cotton. Who knows why? Does she need a reason?


My Creative Space November 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — thebotheredowl @ 12:05 am
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You wait all week for a post to come along, and then two come along at once. While the magic computer mojo is working and allowing me to actually upload photos, here’s  a picture of what I am up to at the moment.


A pretty pile of patchwork pieces waiting to be made into pouches.


And look, some pretty patchwork pouches. Just the right size to fit in your pocket.

I call them the Be Prepared Pouch. You can fit your lipgloss, a feminine ladytype product or even certain types of contraception into one. Or just your change for the bus. Whatever you choose to put in it, you can be like a girl scout and be prepared!

Plus they are super cute and have a beautiful button and a loop of black cotton cord to close them up. Lovely. They’ll be up on the website sometime in the next week or so.  Or you can come visit me at the Armidale Farmer’s Market on Sunday (in Civic Park, down by the Tourist Information Centre) and buy one in person!


The Plane! The Plane! November 8, 2009

Filed under: General Crafty Chat — thebotheredowl @ 7:16 am
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I feel a bit like the little guy from Fantasy Island today as I’ve spent all day explaining to Orlaith and Esme that Daddy’s on the plane.

He got here safe and sound, if a bit shell shocked from the journey, and he also brought with him a small package of joy in the shape of a bunch of gorgeous lego badges and keyrings for the stall in a week’s time.

So, Armidalean types, if you are around next week on Sunday 15th November and you desperately need a new keyring, or your Dad, brother,  grandmother’s best friend’s Aunty does, then you can come and buy a really truly shiny Lego one from us at the Farmer’s Market.

There are crocodiles with wiggly tails, and sharks and everything.

Next Sunday is your last chance to buy in person from me in Australia too, so if you happen to be in Armidale or surrounding environs, do yourself a favour and come by and check it out as you will save yourself a bundle on postage costs from the UK.

I’m also quite excited as I have finally finished the curved bottom bag my sister commissioned me to make for her. It was a bit of a faff in the end because I finished it, was unhappy with the way the handles sat, unpicked it, re-sewed it, then discovered I’d put the handles back on inside out, then they turned out to be quite a bit too long (I’m 6 ft tall, she isn’t.) so I had to chop them up and re-sew them.

But it was totally worth it as it now looks fairly kick-arse. And it also gave me a chance to tweak the design until I was happy with it. There’s still a few things I would alter, but on the whole, it’s a design I am pleased with and I’ll probably make it again.

Jake has also brought with him the card from my camera, which means that shortly I shall be able to finally put up the bag tutorial I’ve been promising for about a month now. Joy!


The clock is ticking October 20, 2009

Filed under: General Crafty Chat — thebotheredowl @ 1:48 pm
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Having been away all weekend – and actually accomplished a fair amount – Alex popped by this evening to pick up some fabric to make our coin aprons, and have a wee confab about where we’re up to and what we need to get done by Friday. (Oh my GOD, that’s this week, holy cats. Ahem.) We have sorted out a plan of attack which sounded convincing last night but still didn’t stop me from waking up in a cold sweat of dread and terror this morning.

But I’m feeling much better after my new buttons arrived! That combined with the various parcels of loveliness that have turned up and a very very naughty raid on the Willingham craft shop is making me smile quite a lot.

I have schemes afoot for all of it, most of it is for bags or coasters or various other trinkets, all to be done this week.


Bags of bags October 11, 2009

Filed under: General Crafty Chat — thebotheredowl @ 1:40 pm
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Disclaimer: I’ve never been a girly handbag type. Before I became  a teacher I went everywhere with a back pack . Simple, practical, could fit a tonne of stuff, easy to carry on foot or on a bike.

Then I became a teacher and suddenly I had to worry about things like looking professional. A back pack didn’t really cut it so I bought a ginormous black faux leather handbag from M& S or somewhere and carted everything in that and a couple of shopping bags for all my marking.

These days I have a number of enormous sacks that I schlepp about with. They have to be big enough to fit nappies, wipes, spare outfits for the girls, wallets, keys, phones, my knitting and often a large number of picture books, while being small enough for me to carry without snapping my spine in half.  My go-to bag is a crusty old green messenger satchel I’ve had for about four years that I bought for a tenner in Dorothy Perkins. It has enough pockets to be practical and it has a a zipper. The strap’s just the right length and width to be reasonably comfy when doing death marches around the City with two small children in tow.

This week I decided to have a go at designing my own bags, just for fun. I wanted to see if I could make something cute, practical and deceptively roomy – bigger on the inside than the outside.

Here’s what I came up with :

8 little bags, all in a row

8 little bags, all in a row

They’re super cute, totally reversible and machine washable. They look smallish but are roomy, have a teensy pocket that matches the contrast inner fabric and lovely soft wide straps that shouldn’t cut into your shoulder. Surprisingly hard to photograph though.

Currently I am working on this pile of loveliness:

Lovely Alexander Henry prints waiting to become bags

Lovely Alexander Henry prints waiting to become bags

Cows and cowboys all waiting to be scrumbled together with some denim to become messenger bags. I’m not going to get to finish these today though. I ordered some D-rings and strap hook attachment thingies the other day so I think I’ll wait for them to arrive as they’d just be the finishing touch for these.

Instead I think it’s time to go work on some more of these guys:

Flower brooches waiting to be stitched together.

Flower brooches waiting to be stitched together.